This awe-inspiring photo of storm clouds and lightning, by Joe Randall, was featured on NASA’s Astronomy Photo of the Day website last week. The image was captured over Colorado and consists of around eighty stacked photographs.
Helicopter Reporter Jerry Ferguson (with help from Pilot Andrew Park took these unbelievable photos earlier this week while filming the weather for a local television station. No, it is not an A-bomb detonated over Phoenix. The photo depicts a dangerous weather phenomenon known as a microburst.
Microbursts are small but powerful rushes of rain-cooled air that collapse toward the ground from a parent thunderstorm. They are basically like a tornado in reverse – while a tornado funnels wind in and up, a microburst’s wind is funneled down and out. Microbursts are created by the downdrafts found in strong thunderstorms and are triggered by two main physical processes — the drag that’s created by falling rain and hail, and evaporation. Once the downdraft hits the ground, the wind — with gusts up to 150 mph — spread out over the land in all directions.
Below is a timelapse video of the same storm shot by Bryan Snider from the vantage point of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. The rainshafts in this footage make it look like Mother Nature turned on a faucet.
As an official member of the Cloud Appreciation Society, photos like these make me swoon. These shots are from Ecuador Airlines pilot Santiago Borja. The first was captured through a Boeing 767-300 cockpit window at 37,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean. The second was taken last October along the coast of Venezuela.
In the Washington Post, Borja explained the obstacles he met when taking these types of photos. “Storms are tricky because the lightning is so fast, there is no tripod and there is a lot of reflection from inside lights,” he said. Turbulence and near darkness also added complications to the shot.
During the recent total solar eclipse, a group of eclipse chasers chartered a flight to get a view of the event from 35,000 feet in the sky. The above gif was from the window of the plane flying through the shadow being cast by the moon on the clouds below. The image comes from this video taken by Stephan Heinsius.
Image credit: Isaac Gutiérrez Pascual
This incredible photo was taken by Isaac Gutiérrez Pascual in Spain way back early September of 2010. I features a large cumulonimbus cloud at sunset along with a crescent moon converged with venus. It’s images like this that have resulted in me bcoming a full fledged member of the Cloud Appreciation Society